There are several steps to choosing which plants are likely to thrive in a yard and which likely won't, and these steps cannot be skipped when you desire beautiful landscaping that will thrive for many years.

While the landscaping experts at A Greener Season Landscaping will be happy to help you determine which plants you love will thrive in your yard, read on to learn the steps involved in deciding which plants will likely thrive in a yard when cared for properly and which may not.

1. Determining the USDA Hardiness Zone You Live In

The first step to deciding which plants are likely to thrive in your yard is determining what gardening zone you live in. The most popular gardening zone map is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which divides the nation into 13 zones based on their average high and low temperatures, average annual rainfall and other aspects of the local climates.

To determine what your local hardiness zone is, visit the USDA website and type in your local zip code. The website will then inform you of your zone, which will consist of a number and a letter. For example, if you live in Twin Falls, ID and your local zip code is 88301, your hardiness zone is 7a.

You can then perform a web search or scroll through gardening catalogs to find plants that have been known to thrive in your zone.

2. Figuring Out How Much Sunlight Each Area of Your Yard Gets

While finding out what hardiness zone you live in can help you narrow down your landscaping options, it is important to know that not every plant that can thrive in your zone will thrive in your yard. There are many other factors to take into consideration when planning your landscaping, and an important one is the average amount of sunlight each area of your yard receives on a daily basis.

When checking the sunlight requirement of a plant, you will find one of the following phrases: full sun, partial sun, partial shade or shade. A plant that requires full sun typically needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, although some perform better with even more. One that requires partial sun will thrive with about 4 to 5 hours of sun exposure each day.

Plants that require partial shade require about 2 to 4 hours of sunlight each day, and plants that require shade thrive when exposed to less than one hour of sunlight each day.

There are many ways home gardeners determine how much sun a specific area of their yard they would like to plant in gets each day. Some simply set aside a full day, from dusk until dawn, to check the sunlight conditions in each area of their yards hour by hour. However, professional landscape designers have advanced techniques they use to determine how much sunlight each area of a yard is likely to receive each day.

3. Ensuring Soil Conditions Will Help Plants Thrive

One factor that many new gardeners forget to take into account when planting is the soil condition a specific plant is most likely to thrive in. The composition of the soil and the soil pH may both need to be altered to ensure a favorite flower or bush will perform well.

There are five main types of soil: loamy, sandy peaty, clay and saline soil. Once you determine what type of soil you have in an area of your yard, adding additional sand, silt, or clay to it can adjust its composition to what is ideal for your plant.

Most plants perform relatively well in soil that has a pH level of about 6-7. However, tailoring the soil pH to the level a specific plant loves can help ensure it thrives. For example, blue hydrangeas thrive in soil that has a pH level of 4-5. If the soil you would like to plant them in is more basic or acidic, then a natural pH-adjuster, such as pulverized lime or ground sulfur, can be used to bring it to the ideal pH level.

If you want beautiful landscaping that will thrive for many years with proper care, then reach out to A Greener Season Landscaping to discuss your landscaping desires.